Friday, April 6, 2012
I'm motivated. I'm feeling the urge to accomplish more, to become something more.
A very good friend and I went to an interesting program at a local college last month. We watched the movie, THE BIG YEAR, starring Jack Black, Steve Martin and Owen Wilson--and then we attended a presentation by the man, champion birder Greg Miller (no relation), the book was based on. We also attended a program on Raptor Rescue and met a brown-tailed hawk that had broken its wing and was being nursed back to health by the organization.
The basic premise of the movie and book and real story it was based on is the quest of 3 different men who love birding (laymen like me call it bird-watching, but the pros call it birding ;)) to have what is known as the "Big Year", where a birder sort of puts his/her life on hold and travels the country/continent to spot as many different species of birds as possible. It's a contest that involves a lot of miles, a lot of money and a lot of dedication. But to a birder, it's the ultimate indulgence and achievement--to be the person who (on record) sees the most birds in a single year. And the best part of the story, of course, being a romance writer--were the relationships that changed and develop over the course of each man's Big Year--finding love, find fame and respect, finally finding an understanding with a father, finding out that family is a priority in life, etc. iow, it's not just the challenge of being #1, it's a journey of self-discovery. It was fascinating, it was funny--and it motivated Linda and me to try a "Big Year of our own.
So, while we're not birders trying to spot as many birds as possible (although I do find myself more aware of birds than ever before), we have been motivated to challenge each other to our own big year--to cheer each other on, to celebrate small victories along the way, and to commiserate disappointments and pick the other up to keep moving forward. Both of us have decided to improve our health this year--and for us the main thing we need to do more of is exercise. So she has pledged to ride her bike 1000 miles this year, and I am going to walk 300 miles. Of course, surpassing those goals is a bonus. But we've set weekly goals, monthly goals. We've rewarded ourselves with practical things like a new sports bra and bike helmet, and with less practical things--a girls night out with strawberry lemonades and a splurge of dessert.
Just as important as the change in activity levels and health, I think, is the mental adjustments Linda and I are going through. We're feeling more positive about our lives, our work and our health. I'm sure it's partly due to the exercise, but I'm thinking a lot of it has to do with the camaraderie. We've been friends since our children were in preschool (her daughter and my son are graduating college in a year!). But we've been busy raising families, writing books, taking care of ill parents, dealing with life. Now, we're making a concerted effort to have contact much more often. That social interaction is invaluable to a solitary writer's life, believe me.
So that's my Big Year. Just this week I was offered a contract to write 4 new Precinct books for Intrigue. I'm presenting a workshop at a national conference with my good buddies BJ Daniels and Delores Fossen. My son is planning his last semester of classes and internship. I'm starting to lose weight. I'm balancing the demands in my life much better than I once did. I'm in a very positive place right now. It's my "Big Year" and I intend to make the most of it!
So what movies/books/people/stories in the news have inspired you to do something?
Share what motivates you. I'll give away a signed copy of my May 1st release, THE MARINE NEXT DOOR, to one lucky commenter.
Now get out there and be inspired!